P A Sharp

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (371)5718.95 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9 has emerged as a versatile genome-editing platform. However, the size of the commonly used Cas9 from Streptococcus pyogenes (SpCas9) limits its utility for basic research and therapeutic applications that use the highly versatile adeno-associated virus (AAV) delivery vehicle. Here, we characterize six smaller Cas9 orthologues and show that Cas9 from Staphylococcus aureus (SaCas9) can edit the genome with efficiencies similar to those of SpCas9, while being more than 1 kilobase shorter. We packaged SaCas9 and its single guide RNA expression cassette into a single AAV vector and targeted the cholesterol regulatory gene Pcsk9 in the mouse liver. Within one week of injection, we observed >40% gene modification, accompanied by significant reductions in serum Pcsk9 and total cholesterol levels. We further assess the genome-wide targeting specificity of SaCas9 and SpCas9 using BLESS, and demonstrate that SaCas9-mediated in vivo genome editing has the potential to be efficient and specific.
    Nature 04/2015; 520(7546). DOI:10.1038/nature14299 · 42.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Genetic screens are powerful tools for identifying genes responsible for diverse phenotypes. Here we describe a genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9-mediated loss-of-function screen in tumor growth and metastasis. We mutagenized a non-metastatic mouse cancer cell line using a genome-scale library with 67,405 single-guide RNAs (sgRNAs). The mutant cell pool rapidly generates metastases when transplanted into immunocompromised mice. Enriched sgRNAs in lung metastases and late-stage primary tumors were found to target a small set of genes, suggesting that specific loss-of-function mutations drive tumor growth and metastasis. Individual sgRNAs and a small pool of 624 sgRNAs targeting the top-scoring genes from the primary screen dramatically accelerate metastasis. In all of these experiments, the effect of mutations on primary tumor growth positively correlates with the development of metastases. Our study demonstrates Cas9-based screening as a robust method to systematically assay gene phenotypes in cancer evolution in vivo. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Cell 03/2015; 160(6):1246-1260. DOI:10.1016/j.cell.2015.02.038 · 33.12 Impact Factor
  • Judy Lieberman, Phillip A Sharp
    JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association 03/2015; 313(12):1207-8. DOI:10.1001/jama.2015.1241 · 30.39 Impact Factor
  • Paul L Boutz, Arjun Bhutkar, Phillip A Sharp
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    ABSTRACT: Deep sequencing of embryonic stem cell RNA revealed many specific internal introns that are significantly more abundant than the other introns within polyadenylated transcripts; we classified these as "detained" introns (DIs). We identified thousands of DIs, many of which are evolutionarily conserved, in human and mouse cell lines as well as the adult mouse liver. DIs can have half-lives of over an hour yet remain in the nucleus and are not subject to nonsense-mediated decay (NMD). Drug inhibition of Clk, a stress-responsive kinase, triggered rapid splicing changes for a specific subset of DIs; half showed increased splicing, and half showed increased intron detention, altering transcript pools of >300 genes. Srsf4, which undergoes a dramatic phosphorylation shift in response to Clk kinase inhibition, regulates the splicing of some DIs, particularly in genes encoding RNA processing and splicing factors. The splicing of some DIs-including those in Mdm4, a negative regulator of p53-was also altered following DNA damage. After 4 h of Clk inhibition, the expression of >400 genes changed significantly, and almost one-third of these are p53 transcriptional targets. These data suggest a widespread mechanism by which the rate of splicing of DIs contributes to the level of gene expression. © 2015 Boutz et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
    Genes & Development 01/2015; 29(1):63-80. DOI:10.1101/gad.247361.114 · 12.64 Impact Factor
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    Dataset: nbt.2884
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    Dataset: nbt.2884-S1
  • Mohini Jangi, Phillip A Sharp
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    ABSTRACT: Coherent splicing networks arise from many discrete splicing decisions regulated in unison. Here, we examine the properties of robust, context-specific splicing networks. We propose that a subset of key splicing regulators, or "master splicing factors," respond to environmental cues to establish and maintain tissue transcriptomes during development.
    Cell 10/2014; 159(3):487-498. DOI:10.1016/j.cell.2014.09.054 · 33.12 Impact Factor
  • Andrew D Bosson, Jesse R Zamudio, Phillip A Sharp
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    ABSTRACT: Target competition (ceRNA crosstalk) within miRNA-regulated gene networks has been proposed to influence biological systems. To assess target competition, we characterize and quantitate miRNA networks in two cell types. Argonaute iCLIP reveals that hierarchical binding of high- to low-affinity miRNA targets is a key characteristic of in vivo activity. Quantification of cellular miRNA and mRNA/ncRNA target pool levels indicates that miRNA:target pool ratios and an affinity partitioned target pool accurately predict in vivo Ago binding profiles and miRNA susceptibility to target competition. Using single-cell reporters, we directly test predictions and estimate that ∼3,000 additional high-affinity target sites can affect active miRNA families with low endogenous miRNA:target ratios, such as miR-92/25. In contrast, the highly expressed miR-294 and let-7 families are not susceptible to increases of nearly 10,000 sites. These results show differential susceptibility based on endogenous miRNA:target pool ratios and provide a physiological context for ceRNA competition in vivo. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Molecular Cell 10/2014; 56(3):347-359. DOI:10.1016/j.molcel.2014.09.018 · 14.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CRISPR-Cas9 is a versatile genome editing technology for studying the functions of genetic elements. To broadly enable the application of Cas9 in vivo, we established a Cre-dependent Cas9 knockin mouse. We demonstrated in vivo as well as ex vivo genome editing using adeno-associated virus (AAV)-, lentivirus-, or particle-mediated delivery of guide RNA in neurons, immune cells, and endothelial cells. Using these mice, we simultaneously modeled the dynamics of KRAS, p53, and LKB1, the top three significantly mutated genes in lung adenocarcinoma. Delivery of a single AAV vector in the lung generated loss-of-function mutations in p53 and Lkb1, as well as homology-directed repair-mediated Kras(G12D) mutations, leading to macroscopic tumors of adenocarcinoma pathology. Together, these results suggest that Cas9 mice empower a wide range of biological and disease modeling applications.
    Cell 10/2014; · 33.12 Impact Factor
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: CRISPR-Cas9 is a versatile genome editing technology for studying the functions of genetic elements. To broadly enable the application of Cas9 in vivo, we established a Cre-dependent Cas9 knockin mouse. We demonstrated in vivo as well as ex vivo genome editing using adeno-associated virus (AAV)-, lentivirus-, or particle-mediated delivery of guide RNA in neurons, immune cells, and endothelial cells. Using these mice, we simultaneously modeled the dynamics of KRAS, p53, and LKB1, the top three significantly mutated genes in lung adenocarcinoma. Delivery of a single AAV vector in the lung generated loss-of-function mutations in p53 and Lkb1, as well as homology-directed repair-mediated Kras(G12D) mutations, leading to macroscopic tumors of adenocarcinoma pathology. Together, these results suggest that Cas9 mice empower a wide range of biological and disease modeling applications.
    Cell 09/2014; 159(2). DOI:10.1016/j.cell.2014.09.014 · 33.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The study of cancer genes in mouse models has traditionally relied on genetically-engineered strains made via transgenesis or gene targeting in embryonic stem cells. Here we describe a new method of cancer model generation using the CRISPR/Cas (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated proteins) system in vivo in wild-type mice. We used hydrodynamic injection to deliver a CRISPR plasmid DNA expressing Cas9 and single guide RNAs (sgRNAs) to the liver that directly target the tumour suppressor genes Pten (ref. 5) and p53 (also known as TP53 and Trp53) (ref. 6), alone and in combination. CRISPR-mediated Pten mutation led to elevated Akt phosphorylation and lipid accumulation in hepatocytes, phenocopying the effects of deletion of the gene using Cre-LoxP technology. Simultaneous targeting of Pten and p53 induced liver tumours that mimicked those caused by Cre-loxP-mediated deletion of Pten and p53. DNA sequencing of liver and tumour tissue revealed insertion or deletion mutations of the tumour suppressor genes, including bi-allelic mutations of both Pten and p53 in tumours. Furthermore, co-injection of Cas9 plasmids harbouring sgRNAs targeting the β-catenin gene and a single-stranded DNA oligonucleotide donor carrying activating point mutations led to the generation of hepatocytes with nuclear localization of β-catenin. This study demonstrates the feasibility of direct mutation of tumour suppressor genes and oncogenes in the liver using the CRISPR/Cas system, which presents a new avenue for rapid development of liver cancer models and functional genomics.
    Nature 08/2014; 514(7522). DOI:10.1038/nature13589 · 42.35 Impact Factor
  • Xuebing Wu, Andrea J. Kriz, Phillip A. Sharp
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    ABSTRACT: The CRISPR-Cas9 system, naturally a defense mechanism in prokaryotes, has been repurposed as an RNA-guided DNA targeting platform. It has been widely used for genome editing and transcriptome modulation, and has shown great promise in correcting mutations in human genetic diseases. Off-target effects are a critical issue for all of these applications. Here we review the current status on the target specificity of the CRISPR-Cas9 system.
    06/2014; 2(2):59-70. DOI:10.1007/s40484-014-0030-x
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    ABSTRACT: The p53-regulated long noncoding RNA lincRNA-p21 has been proposed to act in trans via several mechanisms ranging from repressing genes in the p53 transcriptional network to regulating mRNA translation and protein stability. To further examine lincRNA-p21 function, we generated a conditional knockout mouse model. We find that lincRNA-p21 predominantly functions in cis to activate expression of its neighboring gene, p21. Mechanistically, we show that lincRNA-p21 acts in concert with hnRNP-K as a coactivator for p53-dependent p21 transcription. Additional phenotypes of lincRNA-p21 deficiency could be attributed to diminished p21 levels, including deregulated expression and altered chromatin state of some Polycomb target genes, a defective G1/S checkpoint, increased proliferation rates, and enhanced reprogramming efficiency. These findings indicate that lincRNA-p21 affects global gene expression and influences the p53 tumor suppressor pathway by acting in cis as a locus-restricted coactivator for p53-mediated p21 expression.
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    ABSTRACT: Specific protein-RNA interactions guide posttranscriptional gene regulation. Here, we describe RNA Bind-n-Seq (RBNS), a method that comprehensively characterizes sequence and structural specificity of RNA binding proteins (RBPs), and its application to the developmental alternative splicing factors RBFOX2, CELF1/CUGBP1, and MBNL1. For each factor, we recovered both canonical motifs and additional near-optimal binding motifs. RNA secondary structure inhibits binding of RBFOX2 and CELF1, while MBNL1 favors unpaired Us but tolerates C/G pairing in motifs containing UGC and/or GCU. Dissociation constants calculated from RBNS data using a novel algorithm correlated highly with values measured by surface plasmon resonance. Motifs identified by RBNS were conserved, were bound and active in vivo, and distinguished the subset of motifs enriched by CLIP-Seq that had regulatory activity. Together, our data demonstrate that RBNS complements crosslinking-based methods and show that in vivo binding and activity of these splicing factors is driven largely by intrinsic RNA affinity.
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    ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs delicately regulate the balance of angiogenesis. Here we show that depletion of all microRNAs suppresses tumor angiogenesis. We generated microRNA-deficient tumors by knocking out Dicer1. These tumors are highly hypoxic but poorly vascularized, suggestive of deficient angiogenesis signaling. Expression profiling revealed that angiogenesis genes were significantly down-regulated as a result of the microRNA deficiency. Factor inhibiting hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1), FIH1, is derepressed under these conditions and suppresses HIF transcription. Knocking out FIH1 using CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome engineering reversed the phenotypes of microRNA-deficient cells in HIF transcriptional activity, VEGF production, tumor hypoxia, and tumor angiogenesis. Using multiplexed CRISPR/Cas9, we deleted regions in FIH1 3' untranslated regions (UTRs) that contain microRNA-binding sites, which derepresses FIH1 protein and represses hypoxia response. These data suggest that microRNAs promote tumor responses to hypoxia and angiogenesis by repressing FIH1.
    Genes & development 05/2014; DOI:10.1101/gad.239681.114 · 12.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bacterial type II CRISPR-Cas9 systems have been widely adapted for RNA-guided genome editing and transcription regulation in eukaryotic cells, yet their in vivo target specificity is poorly understood. Here we mapped genome-wide binding sites of a catalytically inactive Cas9 (dCas9) from Streptococcus pyogenes loaded with single guide RNAs (sgRNAs) in mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs). Each of the four sgRNAs we tested targets dCas9 to between tens and thousands of genomic sites, frequently characterized by a 5-nucleotide seed region in the sgRNA and an NGG protospacer adjacent motif (PAM). Chromatin inaccessibility decreases dCas9 binding to other sites with matching seed sequences; thus 70% of off-target sites are associated with genes. Targeted sequencing of 295 dCas9 binding sites in mESCs transfected with catalytically active Cas9 identified only one site mutated above background levels. We propose a two-state model for Cas9 binding and cleavage, in which a seed match triggers binding but extensive pairing with target DNA is required for cleavage.
    Nature Biotechnology 04/2014; 32(7). DOI:10.1038/nbt.2889 · 39.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We demonstrate CRISPR-Cas9-mediated correction of a Fah mutation in hepatocytes in a mouse model of the human disease hereditary tyrosinemia. Delivery of components of the CRISPR-Cas9 system by hydrodynamic injection resulted in initial expression of the wild-type Fah protein in ∼1/250 liver cells. Expansion of Fah-positive hepatocytes rescued the body weight loss phenotype. Our study indicates that CRISPR-Cas9-mediated genome editing is possible in adult animals and has potential for correction of human genetic diseases.
    Nature Biotechnology 03/2014; 32(6). DOI:10.1038/nbt.2884 · 39.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The tight regulation of splicing networks is critical for organismal development. To maintain robust splicing patterns, many splicing factors autoregulate their expression through alternative splicing-coupled nonsense-mediated decay (AS-NMD). However, as negative autoregulation results in a self-limiting window of splicing factor expression, it is unknown how variations in steady-state protein levels can arise in different physiological contexts. Here, we demonstrate that Rbfox2 cross-regulates AS-NMD events within RNA-binding proteins to alter their expression. Using individual nucleotide-resolution cross-linking immunoprecipitation coupled to high-throughput sequencing (iCLIP) and mRNA sequencing, we identified >200 AS-NMD splicing events that are bound by Rbfox2 in mouse embryonic stem cells. These "silent" events are characterized by minimal apparent splicing changes but appreciable changes in gene expression upon Rbfox2 knockdown due to degradation of the NMD-inducing isoform. Nearly 70 of these AS-NMD events fall within genes encoding RNA-binding proteins, many of which are autoregulated. As with the coding splicing events that we found to be regulated by Rbfox2, silent splicing events are evolutionarily conserved and frequently contain the Rbfox2 consensus UGCAUG. Our findings uncover an unexpectedly broad and multilayer regulatory network controlled by Rbfox2 and offer an explanation for how autoregulatory splicing networks are tuned.
    Genes & development 03/2014; 28(6):637-51. DOI:10.1101/gad.235770.113 · 12.64 Impact Factor
  • Jesse R Zamudio, Timothy J Kelly, Phillip A Sharp
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    ABSTRACT: Argonaute (Ago) proteins mediate posttranscriptional gene repression by binding guide miRNAs to regulate targeted RNAs. To confidently assess Ago-bound small RNAs, we adapted a mouse embryonic stem cell system to express a single epitope-tagged Ago protein family member in an inducible manner. Here, we report the small RNA profile of Ago-deficient cells and show that Ago-dependent stability is a common feature of mammalian miRNAs. Using this criteria and immunopurification, we identified an Ago-dependent class of noncanonical miRNAs derived from protein-coding gene promoters, which we name transcriptional start site miRNAs (TSS-miRNAs). A subset of promoter-proximal RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) complexes produces hairpin RNAs that are processed in a DiGeorge syndrome critical region gene 8 (Dgcr8)/Drosha-independent but Dicer-dependent manner. TSS-miRNA activity is detectable from endogenous levels and following overexpression of mRNA constructs. Finally, we present evidence of differential expression and conservation in humans, suggesting important roles in gene regulation.
    Cell 02/2014; 156(5):920-34. DOI:10.1016/j.cell.2014.01.041 · 33.12 Impact Factor
  • Phillip A Sharp, Alan I Leshner
    Science 02/2014; 343(6171):579. DOI:10.1126/science.1250725 · 31.48 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

57k Citations
5,718.95 Total Impact Points


  • 1976–2015
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      • Department of Biology
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2006
    • University of Ottawa
      • Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology
      Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 1999
    • Tokyo Institute of Technology
      Edo, Tōkyō, Japan
  • 1991–1999
    • Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
      • Department of Biology
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1995
    • National Institutes of Health
      • Laboratory of Viral Diseases
      Bethesda, MD, United States
  • 1987–1995
    • Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1993
    • Aarhus University
      Aarhus, Central Jutland, Denmark
  • 1973–1975
    • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
      Cold Spring Harbor, New York, United States